After an unfortunate turn of events, the Dutch surf community mourns a tragic loss. The bodies of five surfers, several of whom were believed to be seasoned watermen with professional experience in open-water swimming, were found in the water near Scheveningen, a popular surf hub in the Netherlands about 30 miles southwest of Amsterdam.
According to various news reports, a group went missing yesterday evening after venturing out into the ocean during a particular heavy storm. After receiving their first call, the Dutch Coast Guard was able to rescue several people from the water last night, but two were later pronounced dead. When the search recommenced this morning, two more bodies were pulled from the North Sea and, according to the NYT, “one more was seen floating out to sea.” The Coast Guard ended its search in the early afternoon.
According to DutchNews.nl, 10 people are thought to have been in the water yesterday evening — a group of six, a group of three and one solo surfer. Three of those who passed were from The Hague, two from Delft and another is still missing. More details about the tragedy are still being investigated.
During the storm, a combination of waves and severe winds had blown a particularly thick layer of cappuccino-like seafoam towards the shore. “Some surfers told the news agency Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau that the thick foam made it especially difficult for those who had fallen from their boards to return to shore,” the Times noted. Other local witnesses say some went out for a bodysurf, struggling against the strong current and profuse foam.
The thick foam also made the search difficult for rescue workers. Photos show the Coast Guard searching the shore for those missing, thigh-deep in foam while a dispatched helicopter tried to blow it away from the shore to help locate bodies.
After hearing about the tragedy, local surfers and residents have taken to Instagram to express their grief and condolences, many sharing a graphic of five white herrings on a black background, referencing the Scheveningen flag.
Our sympathies go out to all the loved ones of those who lost their lives.